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Indepth Arts News:

"Dream Games: The Art of Robert Schw"
2004-09-04 until 2005-01-23
San Jose Museum of Art
San Jose, CA, USA United States of America

The San Jose Museum of Art will open Dream Games: The Art of Robert Schwartz on September 4, 2004 in Paul L. Davies Gallery. Running through January 23, 2005, the exhibition will feature a selection of paintings by this San Francisco-based artist who always kept his distance from the contemporary art world, preferring to pursue a solitary vision. Curated by Katie and Drew Gibson Chief Curator Susan Landauer, Dream Games will trace the evolution of SchwartzŪs art until his early death in 2000.

Reminiscent of Renaissance painting, illuminated manuscripts, and the visionary art of Hieronymus Bosch and Balthus, Schwartz's paintings address the anxieties of contemporary life through an exploration of human interaction with nature and society. His meticulously crafted oil and gouache paintings, which rarely exceed eight inches in size, transport viewers to a dreamlike world where the line between fact and fiction is difficult to discern. Like dramatic stage productions, his paintings present an intriguing narrative but ultimately refuse to divulge the whole story. They often isolate a climactic moment of human experience in which characters appear lost in a psychological narrative that has no clear beginning or end.

Although Schwartz began his artistic career in the Midwest, graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1970, his arrival in San Francisco a year later was critical in shaping his artistic output. Influenced by the eccentricity of the sixties counterculture and by the emerging gay community, his work became deeply psychological, as he began to examine the contemporary psyche with an unflinching eye and to explore societyŪs deepest, and sometimes darkest, fears and desires. As he noted, žI invent a world to reveal certain truths about being human. My subjects are familiar as either common subjects for painting or because they represent things one can easily imagine from experience.Ó

Schwartz's paintings reveal his fascination with the complicated stories of everyday individuals who struggle with the challenges of contemporary life, longing, hope, love, and sexuality. His work indulges in the calamities and absurdities of others, but they do so with compassion. Using delicate renderings and a gem-toned palette, the artist creates seemingly amicable episodes; but as the drama unfolds, his art reveals a fantastic world populated by individuals who are burdened with the fears and foibles of the contemporary existence.

Dream Games: The Art of Robert Schwartz is accompanied by a 220-page full-color catalogue with essays by SJMA Chief Curator Susan Landauer and international art critic Barry Schwabsky.

Robert Schwartz
Painted on a Leaf, 1999
Gouache on paper; 4 ľ x 5 in.
Collection of Ann and Randy Broman.

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